Safety for Black students in college is an ongoing battle.
The incident that transpired at the University of Kentucky over the weekend shows that the commitment to safety for Black students on college campuses across the country needs to be prioritized.
Since Kentucky freshman Kylah Spring was physically, verbally, and racially assaulted by 22-year-old Sophia Rosing, the country has been forced to deal with the realities of what some Black students have to endure on college campuses across the country.
This situation is far from the first instance of racial violence that Black students have had to endure.
As Spring learns how to cope with her situation, she has become a rallying point for many Black students across the country who are subjected to acts of racism and aggression on their respective campuses. Earlier this week the University of Kentucky held a protest to support Spring and fight against racial injustice.
“This is a recurring issue across American school systems no matter what age,” said Spring on Monday night in front of a crowd. “I am deeply saddened by the events that took place, but I am most grateful for justice that is to come. And to Ms. Rosing, you will not break my spirit.
“You will be held accountable for your actions,” Spring continued. “I only pray that you open your heart to love and try to experience life differently and more positively after this.”
Troy Rawlins Jr., was at the protest on Monday and told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he’s both angry and disappointed in response to the incident that was captured on video for the world to see. However, he’s glad that the University is investigating the situation.
“We are here to have our voices be heard so we can effectively combat racism on our campus,” Rawlins said. “We need our voices to be heard. Our voices are falling on deaf ears. The only way we are going to be heard is if we come together.”
University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said in a message to the campus community that the University does not support these incidents and will keep safety as a top priority moving forward.
“To be clear: we condemn this behavior and will not tolerate it under any circumstance. The safety and well-being of our community has been — and will continue to be — our top priority,” Capilouto said.
“The video images I have seen do not honor our responsibilities to each other. They reflect violence, which is never acceptable, and a denial of the humanity of members of our community. They do not reflect civil discourse. They are deeply antithetical to what we are and what we always want to be as a community.”
Young Black students across the country should have the right to feel safe at any institution that they decide to attend. Incidents like these only highlight how much further we have to go as a society to ensure that everyone can truly feel safe and have the same opportunities to advance as others.
Through it all, we know that through the strength of students like Spring we will hopefully make it to a day when we will no longer have to be subjected to violence at places of higher education just because of our skin color.
“I matter, you matter, and we matter,” said Spring. “We will be stronger.”